Reality, Representation and the Aesthetic Fallacy: Critical Realism and the Philosophy of C. S. Peirce
Graduate studies at Western
Journal of Critical Realism 8 (2) (2009)
|Abstract||This essay develops a theory of representation that confirms realism – an objective dependent on establishing that reality is autonomous of representation. I argue that the autonomy of reality is not incompatible with epistemic access and that an adequate account of representation is capable of satisfying both criteria. Pursuit of this argument brings the work of C. S. Peirce and Roy Bhaskar together. Peirce’s doctrine of semiotics is essentially a realist theory of representation and is thus relevant to the project of critical realism. However, critical realism is also required to finesse Peirce’s intricate over-theorising. Although a complete treatment remains absent from Bhaskar’s writings, his philosophy, I discovered, incorporates an implicit theory of representation. Peirce can be employed to extract this theory and amplify it. The only way the problem of representation can be addressed adequately is to locate it in a realist framework. This, however, is contingent on re-conceiving representation as a process rather than an object. Such a ‘perspectival switch’ reconfirms the intentional structure of representation but also suggests that it be considered in teleological terms as an activity oriented to a trans-representational object. Representation finally emerges as a form of inquiry with the aim to make being accessible in its autonomy|
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